Is My NJ Mediation Legally Binding?
Mediation is a commonly used form of alternative dispute resolution which seeks to resolve the issues of divorce and family law matters without formal litigation. Many individuals choose divorce mediation in order to keep their legal proceedings as amicable and flexible as possible, and to have the power to reach their own decisions in the areas of child custody, child support, alimony, and the division of assets without having the courts decide the issues for them.
While mediation is an excellent choice, it is not perfect nor will it ultimately succeed for every couple (to learn more please view our tips for a successful divorce mediation page). With that being said, it is important to understand that no mediation is final or legally binding. If, at the end of the divorce mediation process, you feel unhappy with the resolutions you have reached with your spouse, you are free to choose to pursue a more formal divorce process through the NJ family court system. However, keep in mind that your divorce mediator is legally not allowed to represent you or your spouse should you take your divorce to the courts.
Today, our qualified and experienced divorce mediation attorneys will discuss the most common situations in which individuals choose to take their mediation to the family court system, or actually dispute the results of their mediation after-the-fact.
Non-Binding Mediation Lawyers Chatham NJ
Before going into the details of how mediations results can be modified, it is important to first understand that mediations are non-binding in New Jersey. Legally speaking, non-binding simply means that at any point during the mediation process, if one or both parties is unhappy with the mediation process or takes exception to the recommendations made by the divorce mediator, they are free to end the mediation process, and take their divorce to court.
While this level of freedom and flexibility appeals to many divorcing couples, others may wish to participate in a more rigid and defined process. When this is the case, divorcing couples often prefer to arbitrate their divorce, rather than have it mediated. This is due to the fact that couples can choose either a binding or non-binding divorce arbitration, and that their divorce agreements are decided by an impartial “arbitrator” rather than relying on the less strict guidance and advice of a divorce mediator.
For a better understanding of the benefits of arbitration, and whether or not it may be preferential for you as an alternative method for resolving your divorce, contact our firm today to speak with one of our family law attorneys in a free and confidential consultation.
Contesting a Divorce Mediation Agreement in Morris County NJ
As we have discussed, the divorce mediation process can be ended at any time for any reason by either participant. In addition, due to the non-binding nature of mediation in New Jersey, the results of any mediation can be contested in the case that:
- The Divorce Mediator did not properly interpret state laws when making a recommendation
- The recommendation failed to resolve all disputes satisfactorily
- The mediator was not qualified to render a proper decision
- Evidence was inaccurate or insufficient regardless of the underlying reason
- The mediation process was fundamentally flawed in some way, which led to an improper result
However, proving any of these elements to be true, and successfully having your divorce re-tried in a court of law can often require an in-depth understanding of the law, and the ability to navigate and communicate with New Jersey’s complex family court system; in other words an experienced and knowledgeable attorney.
Looking to Modify a Mediation Decision?
Contact our Morristown Divorce Mediation Lawyers Today
At Townsend, Tomaio & Newmark, our team of highly qualified family law attorneys has extensive experience helping couples through the mediation and arbitration process, and helping clients to overturn unfair, illegal, or inaccurate settlements reached through the mediation process or through a non-binding arbitration.
By practicing exclusively family law, our firm is able to provide highly effective and knowledgeable legal counsel on the legal issues which matter most to our clients and their families. Having already resolved countless divorce and mediation cases in towns across New Jersey and Morris County, including Morristown, Chatham, Mendham, Harding, Chester, and more, we are ideally suited to helping you with any kind of divorce, family law, post-divorce modification and enforcement, or family law appeal issue that you may be facing.
To speak with a member of our legal team today regarding your divorce, a divorce mediation, a divorce arbitration, or any other family law matter, please contact us online or call our Morristown, NJ offices today by dialing (973) 828-0829.